Jonathan Clode and Bern Campbell tell us about the idea behind their comic strip.

ALL IS NOT WELL co-creator Jonathan Clode and artist Bern Campbell tell us about their story EQUIVOCATION.

JC – I worked in learning disability support for twelve years and almost eight of those were as a manager. One of the most frustrating things about any middle management role is the amount of jargon that gets thrown around. And while this is not unique to care, it does highlight how much the ‘industry’ has used language to quantify and objectify real people with life changing issues. A lot of this language exists to baffle staff into thinking their managers know more than they do, but it can also serve as something to hide behind. Florid declarations of intent often disguise a reluctance to tackle a problem, and ambiguous instructions come packaged as advice with no real message to act upon.

Using some of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters served as a way to frame these vague assertions, and equivocation is something he often used to propel his plots and cast doubt upon the real motives of his characters. While the function of this story was to poke fun at buzz words and flowery jargon, I hoped to highlight the fact that it really just leaves those in need of guidance lost and therefore unlikely to seek help from the people who are employed to give it.

BC – At first I was a little unsure how Jonathan was going to make this subject matter engaging for an audience, but when he described his idea for the strip with a Shakespearean slant it seemed to imbue an emotional drama to each scene that feels really rather unexpected and really rather confrontational.

I think one ends-up feeling real sympathy for those on the receiving end of a few people with quite questionable motives who are making rather selfish decisions at some of the most sensitive departments in our local councils. I hope the frames I’ve done reflect something of Jonathan’s vision for the script and convey a sense of the gravity and seriousness that I think Jonathan wanted me to capture.

The strip now seems to me like it would sit well as an episode of ‘BLACK MIRROR’ on Channel 4. Slightly unsettling and no happy endings.

February 17, 2018